Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Roger Shimomura Interview
Narrator: Roger Shimomura
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary); Mayumi Tsutakawa (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 18 & 20, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-sroger-01-0048

RS: And it was at one of those auctions where I was buying furniture, buying all kinds of things, necessities, when -- I was there with one of my colleagues. And there was this farmer standing next to me. And I still remember him. And he was wearing these blue coveralls and he kept nudging closer to me. And finally, during a break in the auction, he said, "Excuse me, sir," he said, "I was overhearing you speak the language, and I was wondering how you come to speaking it so good. Where are you from?" And I said, "I'm from Seattle." And he says, "No," he says, "Where are your parents from?" And I said, "Well, my mother was born in Idaho, and my father was born in Seattle." And I knew what he was after, but I had just decided, since these were questions that I'd probably answered half-a-dozen times prior to this conversation, that I would only answer him truthfully, and give him what he asked. And when he said, "Are you a student at Haskell?" And I said, "No, I teach at KU." "What do you teach?" I said, "I teach painting." And he said, "Well, what's your ancestry?" or something like that. I says, "Well, I'm Japanese, Japanese American." And he says, "Well, konnichi wa." And I kind of looked at him, and he said, "The little lady and I lived in Japan." And he said, "We used to buy them pictures of 'gishi' girls wearin' them kimonos." And he says, "Do you do pictures like that?" And I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and just sort of said, "Yeah." And my friend that was with me was just laughing hysterically. And I just wanted to get away from this guy. So for the rest of the auction I thought about that conversation. And it wasn't as though it was so different from other conversations, but he had sort of summarized, he brought in everything, into that one conversation.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.